Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

First records of the non-indigenous signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) and its threat to noble crayfish (Astacus astacus) populations in Estonia.

Abstract

This study gives an overview of status and distribution of signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus), the first NICS in Estonia and its influence on native noble crayfish (Astacus astacus) populations. The first specimen of signal crayfish was caught during the monitoring of noble crayfish in North Estonia in 2008. The signal crayfish has since been found in three additional sites. Test fishing has indicated that the abundance of signal crayfish has been fluctuating between years and among localities. It has had strong negative impact on abundance of one noble crayfish population. The disconnected distribution of signal crayfish strongly suggests that these populations are the result of human-assisted introductions. Real-time PCR analyses proved that signal crayfish carry the causative agent of the crayfish plague, an oomycete Aphanomyces astaci, thus contributing to its spread. Mortalities in noble crayfish populations had been caused by A. astaci strains from A, B and E genotype group.